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6 Common Signs Your Tankless Water Heater Needs Service

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Tankless water heaters are a great system to have in many homes, regardless of location. Unlike the traditional systems found in the majority of homes across the United States, tankless systems don’t constantly run to keep water heated. The systems simply use gas or electricity to heat water as it moves through the house, keeping the energy costs low since gallons of water aren’t constantly being heated. Additionally, the smaller size of a tankless system gives the home more space that can be used for other purposes. 

However, much like any other water heater, tankless systems are bound to wear down and need repairs. The careful precision that they use often means that the system can have several issues that affect their use, some specific to them. At some point, the wear and tear from hotter desert climates will affect the system’s function, needing to be repaired soon. Yet, the question remains: What are the signs? 

Some of the most common signs are listed below to learn more about tankless water heater repair in Phoenix and other states.

Decreased water pressure

If there’s a pressure drop in the amount of hot water coming through, it’s a clear sign that your tankless water heater needs to be fixed. This can be one of the most common issues specific to tankless systems due to the intake and outtake pipes becoming clogged. The system’s smaller pipes are more likely to fill with hard water mineral deposits and other sediments that prevent the hot water from flowing through properly.

Since the clogged lines only affect the hot water, it’s likely that the issue can go unnoticed for some time. Keep a careful eye out on the water pressure, especially if your household doesn’t use the water heater as often.

The water heater shuts off frequently    

If you’re left with cold water whenever you need to wash the dishes or take a shower, the most likely cause is your water heater. Tankless water heaters have a safety device or program to shut the entire system off. This prevents the system itself from overheating and catching fire, preventing your entire house from burning down as well. The main cause tends to happen when the venting networks connected to the water heater are clogged with sand or another sediment.

Fixing the issue can be as simple as replacing the filter. If that doesn’t help, calling a technician is the next best solution.

The water only gets lukewarm       

If the water coming from your taps is warm at best, the issue is the water heater system. Gas-powered tankless heaters use heat exchangers to heat the water moving through the unit. The decrease in temperature can be caused by one of two problems. The first is a buildup of minerals in the system which can clog the piping in the system. Getting the buildup cleaned out is the best solution here.

Another more significant cause is a problem with the heat exchangers themselves. This could just be wear and tear from dirt in the system or piping, or it could be that the exchangers are failing. For either potential reason, calling a professional is the best. Turning up the aquastat will cause burns or even cause the water heater to overheat faster. Having a furnace repair specialist come in and look at the problem can give you an idea of what to do next. Make sure to get the problem solved before it becomes serious, such as needing to replace your tankless water heater.

The water heater is leaking 

Your water heater may develop a film of moisture on the outside from time to time. Given the temperature of the water and the room in which it was installed, this may be considered normal. If the carpet beneath the heater is wet, or if there is a puddle on the floor with water gradually dripping down the side, the system must be fixed.

Since tankless water heaters apply heat to the water inside the machine, the metal holding it together expands. If the metal expands too much over time, it can break, and water can leak out. Other than water leaking out through the broken parts, it can also damage the flooring underneath and may cause mold to grow. Any other machines besides it can also be damaged. To find the source of the leak and repair it, call a professional.

Discolored water

If your hot water comes out of your tap with any other color or clarity than clear, and your neighbors’ water is fine, your water heater is broken. The minerals in the tap water move through the system as you use it. The more you use it, the more the minerals create deposits in the lines and the system itself. When enough deposits form, the hot water running through the system can become cloudy, yellow, or brown. Additionally, the deposits can also affect how the water smells. 

There is a quick solution to this problem, one that you can do at home. All that’s needed is flushing the tankless system with vinegar or a descaling solution. If you’re unsure how to do it without accidentally damaging the system, you can also get your plumber to lead you through the process. After that, make sure to flush the system every six months to prevent further buildup.

The hot water cuts off

Another reason why your hot water suddenly runs cold is that the tankless system is overloaded. This can happen when more than two faucets or showers are using hot water at the same time. The entire system can’t keep up with the water demands and shuts off.

Fortunately, nothing in the system is broken. The solution here is to turn one or two of the tap off to let the system restart and recover from the overload. If that doesn’t reset it, you might need to do a manual reset. Keep aware of the hot water demands and buy a larger unit if needed.


As with most machines, they’re more than likely going to break eventually. A lot of different issues can pop up inside the system. Some of these issues can be fixed by yourself, yet it may be a far more serious issue than you first think. To stay safe, call a professional to guarantee that your tankless water heater last for its lifetime.

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